Secrets of the Cat: Its Lore, Legend, and Lives
What is really going on behind those luminous feline eyes?
Affectionate yet aloof, intelligent and inquisitive yet dangerously careless, the more-or-less domesticated house cat intrigues us as no other animal can. Now Barbara Holland offers cat lovers a fascinating, funny, and refreshingly candid look at their feline companions: their history, lore, and secrets, and their complicated relations with people and with each other.
Secrets of the Cat is a lively appreciation of cats as we know and love them, with witty analysis and fresh observations about felines both high and low. Here are Winston Churchill’s ginger tom, who attended cabinet meetings; Teddy Roosevelt’s cat, Slippers, who came to dinner; and even the author’s own George II, who was bitten by a mouse and adopted by a blue jay. Barbara Holland’s warm, vivid speculations on cats’ lives and times—on their social, psychic, and mythological legacy, and their impenetrable mysteries—will give readers a delightful cat’s-eye view of the world.
and Thing Two, spent a substantial part of their lives peering nearsightedly at an area just above the baseboard of the wall in the hall, an occupation they seemed to find endlessly satisfying, like reading a good book. Colette, in The Cat, speaks of “the fixed attention she gave to things swimming about in the air in front of her eyes … ‘What is that cat staring at? Tell me. There’s nothing where she’s looking,’ ‘Nothing … for us.’ ” In The Good Cat Book Mordecai Siegal says cats stare at the
on the couch in the evenings; if he lives long enough he may someday sit in her lap, but he’s still terrified of my brother. More than once he’s mistaken me for Mother, and when he realized I wasn’t, squawled with horror and fled. Rupert was coaxed with infinite gentleness for months; Boston Blackie, who had known only shouts and occasional beatings from us, converted himself between morning and evening. What happened? We argued it over. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? But there had been no Jekyll
recognizing you in some more penetrating way than you have ever been recognized before. If this is a common mutation or a throwback to an extinct wild type, and if it’s been around for a while, no wonder the Church chose the black cat as a supernatural emissary. Whether or not they’re interested in buying your soul, they’re certainly looking straight into it. I went to the SPCA to get myself a kitten, and was shown a cage full of them, dozens of them napping and washing and wrestling together.
with each other. Some feed only raw food, darkly hinting at the effects of cooking; pregnant females fed cooked food, for instance, have but few and sickly kittens, often stillborn. Their colleagues hotly maintain that raw food is virtually poisonous for cats, leaving us to imagine cats in less protective times grilling their mice over tiny outdoor barbecues. One says nothing but raw beef, the perfect food; another warns of the dire effects of pork; another says one-third of the meal should be
cat-keeping and carry it, home from the store, out for the trash. No chemicals. No roofs, no disinfectants, no scented sprays. Just fresh litter, and a little plain water to rinse the pan, or use a plastic liner. And instead of using twice as much as recommended, hoping to make it last four times as long, use half as much, to last half as long. A handful of baking soda mixed with the litter does no harm, but there’s no substitute for a fresh start. Moving: A lot of cats vanish during the chaos